Two Russian coal miners missing, one trapped in accident

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 17, 2011 10:33 AM

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Two miners were missing and a third trapped underground in an Arctic Russian mine after an accident at a coal face, the owner, a unit of steelmaker Severstal, said on Sunday.

The Severstal unit, Vorkutaugol, said the collapse was caused by a "geological phenomenon."

Russia, a major producer of thermal coal and coking coal for the steel industry, suffers regular mine accidents, often due to shoddy adherence to safety procedures.

Russia's creaky infrastructure, negligence and rampant corruption and were in the spotlight this week following the worst river accident in three decades, when a tourist boat sunk on the Volga killing up to 129 people.

Of 79 miners who were in the pit at Severny, near the northern city of Vorkuta, when the accident occurred, three remained underground.

One of the miners was located quickly and was receiving supplies of oxygen, the company said. Russian news agencies said rescuers were struggling to reach him through about 3-5 meters of rock. The other two could not be found.

The last major fatal accident occurred at the Raspadskaya mine in Kemerovo in western Siberia last year, when a methane explosion caused it to collapse, killing at least 66 people.

(Writing by Melissa Akin; Editing by Elizabeth Fullerton)